"Senior" Specialists and Advisors
Welcome to Your Money.† Today, weíll discuss ďseniorĒ investment professional designations.†
Some financial professionals use designations that imply that they are experts at helping seniors with financial issues. Many seniors, however, don't understand the sets of initials that may follow the names of these financial professionals or the meaning of the titles - such as "senior specialist" or "retirement advisor" - they use to market themselves.
The education, experience, and other requirements for receiving and maintaining a "senior" designation vary greatly. In some cases, a financial professional may need to study and pass several rigorous exams - after working in a designated field for several years - to receive a particular designation. In other cases, it may be relatively easy in terms of time and effort to receive a "senior" designation, even for an individual with no relevant experience
If you want to find out more about a particular professional designation, check out the "Understanding Investment Professional Designations" page on the NASD's website. The page provides the education and experience requirements for many professional designations. In addition, you can find out whether the granting organization for a particular designation requires continuing education, offers a public disciplinary or investor complaint process, or provides a way to check the status of a financial professional. Keep in mind that the neither the NASD nor the SEC endorses any professional designation.
Even after doing some research, it may not be clear to you whether a professional designation represents legitimate expertise, a marketing tool, or something in between. That's one reason you should always look beyond a financial professional's designation and determine whether he or she can provide the type of financial services or product you need.
Itís good common sense to evaluate the background of anyone with whom you intend to do business - before you hand over your hard-earned cash, and to ask a lot of questions.
You can learn more about the questions you should ask about investments and financial professionals by reading the SECís Ask Questions brochure. Another resource is the SECís Check Out Brokers and Advisers brochure, which tells you how to get background information on a financial professional, including prior employment history and disciplinary actions.
Both are these resources are available online and in hard copy.† Simply call 1-800-732-0330 and request them or review them online SECís web page dedicated to seniors, available at sec.gov in the Information Information section (www.sec.gov/investor/seniors.shtml).†
Thanks for joining us. Your Money is brought to you by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org††